Category Archives: Seasonal Health & Wellness

Going to Hillside this weekend?

I love spending time outdoors.  However, as you all know, it can be challenging to do so peacefully.  Over four years ago, I developed an insect deterrent spray.  I combed every reference book I had at my disposal and learned about the biological processes that plants develop to discourage predators from eating them.

let me be AD instagram July 2018

Essential oils harness a plant’s insect deterring properties.  It is also why you may see a  ‘bug spray’ on the market with different essential oil ingredients. Many essential oils have bug deterring properties.

Let Me Be–Outdoor Meditation Blend is a synergistic blend of ten (10) carefully researched essential oils with bug deterring properties and four water-based ingredients that are also known deterrents and help the essential oil blend ‘stick’ to your skin.

Let Me Be–Outdoor Meditation Blend is my solution to enjoying the outdoors in peace & relief from mosquitoes, black flies, wood ticks, ants, & moths — Deet-free, 100% plant-based ingredients, and a natural and safe alternative to conventional bug sprays. I cheekily refer to my Let Me Be blend as an ‘outdoor meditation spray’. Maintain your zen-ness while enjoying your back yard!

Let Me Be Spray is a proprietary, essential oil blend in a water base. It is naturally preserved, with no synthetic emulsifiers. Let Me Be is also available as an undiluted blend, suitable for diffusing and DIY blending. 

5 seasons Let me be 1 up May 2018Thank you Canadian Federation of Aromatherapists for my robust aromatherapy training!


Heading out this Canada Day weekend?

Heading out this Canada Day long weekend?

Don’t forget to pack your ‘bug spray’!  I call mine an ‘Outdoor Meditation Spray’ – because it lets you do just that, relax, enjoy and even meditate in your backyard 🙂  Or benefit from a walking meditation at Guelph Lake.

let me be C 2018
Let Me Be • Outdoor Meditation Spray

Before heading out, swing by the Two Rivers Market Friday until 7 p.m. or the Guelph Farmers’ Market Saturday until noon.

As a bonus, you will receive a voucher to save on your refill.
Re-use and save!
After all, we do live in the greenest city in Ontario 🙂

let me be $5 voucher June 2018

Click here for all the ingredients and uses details. 




Last chance to enter to win Summer Survival Gift Pack

Friday and Saturday will be your last chances to enter to win an LJ Turtle Summer Survival Gift Pack which includes:

Let Me Be Insect Deterrent Spray
A pair of handcrafted aromatherapy diffuser earrings with Joy Diffuser Blend
Lavender Hydrosol
Smelly Dog Grooming Spray 

Draw date is the last Saturday in June.  You can enter at either the Two Rivers Market on Fridays or the Guelph Farmers’ Market on Saturdays.  Good luck!

summer survival draw June 2018
LJ Turtle Aromatherapy • Guelph Ontario Canada


let me be C 2018
Let Me Be • Outdoor Meditation Spray


Smelly Dog Woodsy
Smelly Dog Grooming Spray • Woodsy Piper’s Blend
Lavender Hydrosol
Lavender Hydrosol


Allergy Relief

My roll-on blend works to alleviate the symptoms of seasonal allergies.

French Lavender is a natural and
 gentle antihistamine with anti-itch & anti-inflammatory properties.  Roman Chamomile has analgesic, anti-itch & antispasmodic properties also known to be anti-allergenic and gentle. These are blended in a base of jojoba carrier oil.  Gently apply a small amount to sinus area. Massage thoroughly into skin. Re-apply as needed.

As with all LJ Turtle Blends, Allergy Relief is:

  • natural & safe alternative
  • Locally handcrafted in small batches ensuring quality & freshness
  • Developed by a Certified Aromatherapist
  • Free of any fillers or synthetic ingredients
  • 100% biodegradable and plant-based


Allergy Relief B
Allergy Relief • LJ Turtle Aromatherapy • Live Naturally ••• Live Beautifully

CFA 25th Anniversary Conference

You won’t find me at either Two Rivers Market today or the Guelph Farmers’ Market tomorrow.  I’ll be soaking up aromatherapy insights with my fellow aromatherapists in Toronto at this year’s Canadian Federation of Aromatherapists Conference.  Jennifer Jefferies, from Australia, is our special speaker.

Good news!  You can pick-up a bottle of Let Me Be Outdoor Meditation Spray (aka insect deterrent; aka bug spray) at the market Saturday morning.  My neighbours have generously offered to provide this blend to my supportive customers.

Have a great weekend and I’ll see you next Friday and Saturday.
Cheers. Lisa

cfa conference may 2018


Canadian Federation of Aromatherapists • LJ Turtle Aromatherapy

Jennifer Jefferies – Keynote Bio

The purpose of life isn’t just to live, but to thrive Jennifer Jefferies is The Present Day Wise Woman, one of Australia’s most respected authors and speakers in the area of health and wellbeing, working closely with some of the world’s most well known brands to restore work life balance and minimize presenteeism and absenteeism in their organizations. Experiencing corporate burnout at 27 after a car accident, Jennifer got the wakeup call she needed to realize there is more to life than just having a successful career, and good health was the foundation to build it on.

Turning away from her pharmaceutical management career Jennifer became a passionate naturopath, and for more than 25 years has helped countless individuals improve their lives so they can live their dreams, enjoy life and give back. Subscribing to the philosophy that wealth and success mean nothing without your health, Jennifer authored the 7 Steps to Sanity and thirteen other health-related titles, sharing practical real-life strategies to help teams and individuals improve their health, wellbeing and productivity by finding balance in their lives.

Known for her fun, humorous, no-nonsense approach to healthy living, and her proven ability to motivate others to make positive changes to their lives both inside and outside the workplace, Jennifer is a highly sought after presenter, speaking to corporations in more than a dozen countries including Australia, USA, New Zealand and South-East Asia.

Determined to leave the world a better place, Jennifer has also established The Q Foundation to give health, hope and happiness to children in poverty stricken countries through providing education, health care, accommodation and welfare services.

Self described as a psychedelic, peace and brown rice loving hippie and a passionate, adventurous traveler, when Jennifer isn’t writing or speaking, she is working towards her goal of owning a complete set of Lonely Planet books, purchasing them only once she has traveled to each place.

Let me be 3 main points 1 up May 2018
Let Me Be Insect Deterring Spray • LJ Turtle Aromatherapy
let me be C 2018
Let Me Be Insect Deterring Spray • LJ Turtle Aromatherapy

Phototoxic Essential Oils

Those with a formal education in the safe use of essential oils are knowledgeable about the ‘phototoxicity‘ of some essential oils, especially those in the Rutaceae plant family.

safety protocols citrus eos May 2018
Phototoxic Essential Oils • (c) LJ Turtle Aromatherapy

With the warmer weather and as we are spending more time outside, check to see which essential oils are in your skincare products.  Tisserand & Young (2014, Essential Oil Safety, second edition) and the relevant scientific literature discuss these 5 essential oils.  Check your skincare product ingredient lists for these essential oils:

• Grapefruit
Lemon (expressed) 
Bitter Orange

Tisserand & Young’s safety protocols refer to expressed fruit peels and not distilled (lime can now be found distilled) or rectified (you can find bergaptene-free bergamot).  These safety guidelines also apply to anyone using a tanning bed. Avoid the sun and tanning beds for 12 hours after application of phototoxic essential oils over the recommended safe concentration level.

Maximum dermal use level to avoid phototoxic reactivity (Tisserand & Young, 2014):
• Grapefruit: blend at 4% or less
• Lemon: blend at 2% or less
• Lime: blend at 0.7% or less
• Bitter Orange: blend at 1.25% or less
• Bergamot: blend at 0.5% or less (Butje’s recommendation only)

According to Andrea Butje, sweet orange, tangerine, and green mandarin are not phototoxic.      Butje goes on to provide blending concentration levels that according to her, are safe to use.  But you need to do your research and know how to blend by calculating concentration levels.

The general safety guideline is avoid sunlight and tanning beds for a minimum of 12 hours after topical application of phototoxic essential oils (Canadian Federation of Aromatherapy).  Personally, to stay absolutely safe, I avoid using these essential oils in my skincare products during the summer and am cautious during the colder months.

Happy blending.

Get educated. Get certified.




Let Me Be • Insect Deterrent

‘Tis the season…

let me be C 2018

I cheekily refer to my Let Me Be blend as an ‘outdoor meditation spray’. Maintain your zen-ness while enjoying your back yard.

Click here for ingredients & more info.

Available at the Guelph Farmer’s Market Saturdays.

Beginning May 25th, available at the Two Rivers Market Fridays.

Insect Deterring Essential Oils

In September 2014, Health Canada , rather abruptly,

‘…ordered citronella-based bug sprays pulled from shelves across Canada, citing a lack of research into the safety of their products.’

Just as abruptly, in December 2014, Health Canada reversed this decision.

Manufacturers and scientists were perplexed by the decision, and I understand why.

“The sudden shift has exasperated not only manufacturers, but also scientists. They wonder why Health Canada shunned their original recommendation that citronella oil was generally safe.’

When I first learned about ‘the ban’, it felt to me, a push-back from the big companies who manufacture deet-based bug sprays.  Citronella-based and other essential oil-based products would have most certainly been affecting their bottom-line.   It would appear, quite deeply affecting their bottom-line.   This is my opinion, as someone who has spent considerable time researching the bug deterring properties of essential oils.

Oh how the tides have changed since 2014.  For those wanting a non-toxic alternative to conventional insect repellents, check-out Health Canada’s list on a page entitled ‘Insect Repellents’ (last updated in the summer of 2016). We now find essential oils listed as both insect repelling and safe:

Insect repellents with a mixture of lemon, eucalyptus, pine needle, geranium and camphor essential oils:

  • can be used safely when applied as directed to repel mosquitoes
  • should not be used on children younger than 2 years old

The key here, as a certified aromatherapist, is the term ‘mixture’. In aroma-language, we translate this to mean a ‘blend’. Health Canada has deemed the synergistic effect of lemon, eucalyptus, pine needle, geranium and camphor essential oils as a blend to be an effective insect repellent.  Amazing.  Only in terms of Health Canada drawing this conclusion. Qualified aromatherapists and lay-folk both, already knew this.

Of note, citronella is now listed to be an effective repellent of mosquitoes and eucalyptus citriodora, aka lemon eucalyptus, was found to be an effective repellent of mosquitoes and black flies.

What’s missing: Safety information about lemon essential oil; it is known as being ‘phototoxic’ which means when applied directly to the skin and then the skin is exposed to sunlight, you risk burning your skin.   Personally, I would not be adding this to my DIY insect deterring blend. Had their been a qualified aromatherapist on the expert panel assembled by Health Canada, this would have been highlighted as a safety concern with the use of lemon essential oil on the skin.  Sprayed on clothing is safe.

What’s also missing: Concentration level.  In aroma-language, how many drops of each essential oil ought to be added to what type of carrier base in order to be effective.

If you are looking for a pre-blended insect deterring blend, please check out my LJ Turtle Let Me Be Outdoor Meditation Spray.

And if you are curious about the evidence-based literature on the subject, here is what I dug-up on the scientific research conducted on the efficacy of a wide range of essential oils with insect deterring properties.

Happy blending and best of luck deterring the outdoor pests that our Canadian summers bring.


Bioactivity-Guided Investigation of Geranium Essential Oils as Natural Tick Repellents

J. Agric. Food Chem., 2013, 61 (17), pp 4101–4107


The evaluation of 10 essential oils of geranium, Pelargonium graveolens (Geraniaceae), were all shown to have repellent activity against nymphs of the medically important lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum (L.). The biological tests were carried out using a vertical filter paper bioassay, where ticks must cross an area of the paper treated with repellent to approach host stimuli. One of the essential oil samples that repelled >90% of the ticks at 0.103 mg/cm2 was selected for further fractionation studies. The sesquiterpene alcohol, (−)-10-epi-γ-eudesmol, was isolated and identified by spectral methods. (−)-10-epi-γ-Eudesmol at 0.103 and 0.052 mg of compound/cm2 of filter paper repelled 90 and 73.3% of the ticks, respectively. (−)-10-epi-γ-Eudesmol exhibited similar repellency to the reference standard N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET) at concentrations of ≥0.052 mg of compound/cm2 of filter paper, with (−)-10-epi-γ-eudesmol losing much of its repellency at 0.026 mg of compound/cm2 and DEET at 0.013 mg of compound/cm2. Isomenthone and linalool did not repel ticks at the concentrations tested. Most repellents are marketed with much higher concentrations of active ingredient than the concentrations of the natural repellents tested herein; therefore, effective compounds, such as (−)-10-epi-γ-eudesmol, found in geranium oil, have the potential for commercial development.

Development of Melaleuca oils as effective natural‐based personal insect repellents

Australian Journal of Entomology. 2010. Volume 49, Issue 1.


For many decades effective insect repellents have relied on synthetic actives such as N,N‐diethyl‐meta‐toluamide. Increasingly, consumers are seeking natural‐based alternatives to many everyday products including insect repellents. While many studies have been published detailing the potential of essential oils to act as insect repellents, few oils have been identified as viable alternatives to synthetic actives. This study details the process involved in the selection of Australian essential oils effective as repellents and the subsequent testing of natural‐based insect repellents using the selected oils. Using a combination of laboratory‐based and field‐based testing, oil from Melaleuca ericifolia was identified as being an effective insect repellent. When formulated into three different bases: an alcohol‐based spray, an emulsion and a gel, these Melaleuca‐based repellents were shown to be as effective at repelling mosquitoes Aedes vigilax (Skuse) (Diptera: Culicidae) and Verrallina carmenti (Edwards) (Diptera: Culicidae), the bush fly Musca vetustissima (Walker) (Diptera: Muscidae), and biting midges Culicoides ornatus (Taylor) (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) and Culicoides immaculatus (Lee & Reye) (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) as a synthetic‐based commercial repellent. This study has shown that effective insect repellents based on natural active ingredients can deliver repellency on par with synthetic actives in the field. Three Melaleuca‐based formulations have been registered as repellents and are now commercially available.


IJRDPL – Vol 3, issue 1 (2013), December – January. Pages: 143-150


Malaria is considered endemic in 104 countries and territories around the world nessessitating its control. Essential oils belonging to various plant species and possessing mixtures of hydrocarbons have been seen to act as effective repellent against various pests. The monoterpenoids constituting the major component is found to be cytotoxic to plant and animal tissue thus impairing the normal functioning of these tissues. The commercially marketed repellents basically consist of essential oils from plants Cymbopogon nardus, Eucalyptus maculata, Cymbopogon excavatus, Mentha piperita, Azadirachta indica. The volatile nature of these components due to their short duration of efficacy has urged for the development of novel formulations, use of fixatives such as vanillin and combination essential oil plants as repellents. The easy availability and less adverse environmental impact have led to the increased interest in plant origin insecticides as an alternative to chemical insecticides. The present article envisaged to review the reports of essential oils on its effectiveness as repellent.

Mosquito Repellent Actions of the Essential Oils of Cymbopogon citratus, Cymbopogon nardus and Eucalyptus citriodora: Evaluation and Formulation Studies

Journal of Essential Oil Bearing Plants. Volume 15, 2012 – Issue 5


Essential oils extracted by steam distillation from Cymbopogon citratus (DC.) Stapf, Cymbopogon nardus (L.) Rendle and Eucalyptus citriodora Hook were evaluated for their repellent effects against Anopheles arabiensis mosquitoes under laboratory conditions. Blended oils, ointments and cream formulations of the oil of C. nardus in different bases were also evaluated. At 10 % and 20 % concentrations, all the oils showed a minimum of 90 % and 95 % relative protection, respectively, soon after application. These were not significantly different in efficacy from NN-diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET), P<0.05. Afterwards however, only C. nardus oil produced more than 70 % protection for 3 h and 4 h at a concentration of 10 % and 20 %, respectively. Combinations of 10 % or 20 % of each of the oils of C. citratus and C. nardus gave better protection than their individual effects. In the presence of the oil of E. citriodora, the effects of C. citratusand C. nardus were significantly reduced at both concentrations. The oil of C. nardus in oleaginous ointment (i.e. Vaseline) provided above 80 % relative protection for as long as 4 h which was better than the effect of the 20 % oil, P<0.05. Similarly, the oil in hydrophilic ointment, 1:1 w/w blend of PEG 4000 and PEG 600, gave better repellent effect than the 20 % oil (P<0.05). However, the effect of the o/w cream was not statistically different from the 20 % oil, P>0.05. The blends of C. citratus and C. nardus oils and the ointment formulations of the oil of C. nardus showed improvement on the percentage of protection of the oil of C. nardus. However, both the blending and the formulations did not improve the duration of protection. In addition, both the percentage and duration of protection were not as good as DEET, P<0.05. This study demonstrated the potential of essential oil of C. nardus as topical repellent against An. arabiensis.

Investigation of the Repellence Activity of Bio-Out, a Natural Mosquito Repellent

Int. J. LifeSc. Bt & Pharm. Res. 2013. Vol. 2. No. 3.


Mosquito repellents are important tools for prevention of dreadful diseases as well as painful mosquito bites. Lemongrass essential oil (Cymbopogon citratus) has been investigated for its repellent activity against mosquitoes respectively. Tests were performed with out the contribution of human volunteers. Number of visible mosquitoes was noticed. Approximately 80% repellence activity has been observed. Lemongrass oil exhibited an average of 30 min protection time against mosquitoes to make them away from the observed area, All-out (50-80%) protection time in comparison to the activity of the best known chemical insect repellent, N, N-diethyl-mtoluamide (DEET). Determining the effectiveness of lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) as mosquito repellent is the main goal of the study. Specifically, it intends to apply the extraction procedure techniques to extract the essential oils of lemon grass. It can be concluded that lemon grass oil is a promising natural repellent due to its safety advantage over chemical repellents.

The effects of plant essential oils on escape response and mortality rate of Aedes aegyptiand Anopheles minimus

Journal of Vector Ecology. 2015. Volume 40, Issue 2


Insecticide resistance and growing public concern over the safety and environmental impacts of some conventional insecticides have resulted in the need to discover alternative control tools. Naturally occurring botanically‐based compounds are of increased interest to aid in the management of mosquitoes. Susceptible strains of Aedes aegypti (Linnaeus) (Diptera: Culicidae) and Anopheles gambiae(Meigen) (Diptera: Culicidae) were treated with permethrin, a common type‐I synthetic pyrethroid, using a discriminate dose that resulted in less than 50% mortality. Piperonyl butoxide (PBO) and 35 essential oils were co‐delivered with permethrin at two doses (2 and 10 µg) to determine if they could enhance the 1‐h knockdown and the 24‐h mortality of permethrin. Several of the tested essential oils enhanced the efficacy of permethrin equally and more effectively than piperonyl butoxide PBO, which is the commercial standard to synergize chemical insecticide like pyrethroids. PBO had a strikingly negative effect on the 1‐h knockdown of permethrin against Ae. aegypti, which was not observed in An. gambiae.Botanical essential oils have the capability of increasing the efficacy of permethrin allowing for a natural alternative to classic chemical synergists, like PBO.

Essential Oil Repellents- A short Review

Int. J. Drug Dev. & Res. April – June 2014. Vol. 6. Issue 2.


Mosquitoes are the most important of insects in terms of public health importance which transmit a number of diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, Japanese B encephalitis, filariasis and malaria, causing millions of deaths every year. Mosquito control and personal protection from mosquito bites are currently the most important measures to prevent these diseases. Essential oils from plants have been recognized as important natural resources of insecticides because some are selective, biodegrade to non-toxic products and have few effects on non-target organisms and environment. Essential oils are volatile mixtures of hydrocarbons with a diversity of functional groups, and their repellent activity has been linked to the presence of mono – terpenes and sesquiterpenes. In some cases, these chemicals can work synergistically, improving their effectiveness. The aim of this review is to highlight the significance of essential oil from Cymbopogon winterianus Jowitt, Azadirchata indica, Lavandula angustifolia, Mentha piperita for control of vector- borne disease.


Plant-based insect repellents: a review of their efficacy, development and testing

Malar J. 2011; 10(Suppl 1): S11.


Plant-based repellents have been used for generations in traditional practice as a personal protection measure against host-seeking mosquitoes. Knowledge on traditional repellent plants obtained through ethnobotanical studies is a valuable resource for the development of new natural products. Recently, commercial repellent products containing plant-based ingredients have gained increasing popularity among consumers, as these are commonly perceived as “safe” in comparison to long-established synthetic repellents although this is sometimes a misconception. To date insufficient studies have followed standard WHO Pesticide Evaluation Scheme guidelines for repellent testing. There is a need for further standardized studies in order to better evaluate repellent compounds and develop new products that offer high repellency as well as good consumer safety. This paper presents a summary of recent information on testing, efficacy and safety of plant-based repellents as well as promising new developments in the field.

Natural Sunscreening

I did a little digging and found these articles as the most recent scientific literature on the effectiveness of using carrier oils and essential oils as UVA and UVB protection.

LJ Turtle is in no way recommending anyone use any of the carrier oils or essential oils listed in these articles.  This blog is for informational purposes only.

I will say, I am personally experimenting with blends using carrier oils and essential oils. I’ll report my anecdotal findings soon.

Potential of herbs in skin protection from ultraviolet radiation

Pharmacogn Rev. 2011 Jul-Dec; 5(10): 164–173.


Herbs have been used in medicines and cosmetics from centuries. Their potential to treat different skin diseases, to adorn and improve the skin appearance is well-known. As ultraviolet (UV) radiation can cause sunburns, wrinkles, lower immunity against infections, premature aging, and cancer, there is permanent need for protection from UV radiation and prevention from their side effects. Herbs and herbal preparations have a high potential due to their antioxidant activity, primarily. Antioxidants such as vitamins (vitamin C, vitamin E), flavonoids, and phenolic acids play the main role in fighting against free radical species that are the main cause of numerous negative skin changes. Although isolated plant compounds have a high potential in protection of the skin, whole herbs extracts showed better potential due to their complex composition. Many studies showed that green and black tea (polyphenols) ameliorate adverse skin reactions following UV exposure. The gel from aloe is believed to stimulate skin and assist in new cell growth. Spectrophotometer testing indicates that as a concentrated extract of Krameria triandra it absorbs 25 to 30% of the amount of UV radiation typically absorbed by octyl methoxycinnamate. Sesame oil resists 30% of UV rays, while coconut, peanut, olive, and cottonseed oils block out about 20%. A “sclerojuglonic” compound which is forming from naphthoquinone and keratin is the reaction product that provides UV protection. Traditional use of plant in medication or beautification is the basis for researches and making new trends in cosmetics. This review covers all essential aspects of potential of herbs as radioprotective agents and its future prospects.

In vitro sun protection factor determination of herbal oils used in cosmetics

Pharmacognosy Res. 2010 Jan-Feb; 2(1): 22–25.


The aim of this study was to evaluate ultraviolet (UV) absorption ability of volatile and nonvolatile herbal oils used in sunscreens or cosmetics and express the same in terms of sun protection factor (SPF) values. Sun protection factor is a laboratory measure of the effectiveness of sunscreen; the higher the SPF, the more protection a sunscreen offers against the ultraviolet radiations causing sunburn. The in vitroSPF is determined according to the spectrophotometric method of Mansur et al. Hydroalcoholic dilutions of oils were prepared, and in vitro photoprotective activity was studied by UV spectrophotometric method in the range of 290-320 nm. It can be observed that the SPF values found for nonvolatile oils were in between 2 and 8; and for volatile oils, in between 1 and 7. Among the fixed oils taken, SPF value of olive oil was found to be the highest. Similarly among essential oils, SPF value of peppermint oil was found to be the highest. The study will be helpful in the selection of oils and fragrances to develop sunscreens with better safety and high SPF. Oily vehicles are more effective for producing a uniform and long-lasting film of sunscreen on the skin, and their emollient properties protect the skin against the drying effects of exposure to wind and sun. Volatile oils are used as perfumes in cosmetics.

Characteristics of raspberry (Rubus idaeus L.) seed oil

Food Chemistry. Volume 69, Issue 2, 1 May 2000, Pages 187-193


Studies were conducted on properties of oil extracted from raspberry seeds. Oil yield from the seed was 10.7%. Physicochemical properties of the oil include: saponification number 191; diene value 0.837; p-anisidine value 14.3; peroxide value 8.25 meq/kg; carotenoid content 23 mg/100 g; and viscosity of 26 mPa.s at 25°C. Raspberry seed oil showed absorbance in the UV-B and UV-C ranges with potential for use as a broad spectrum UV protectant. The seed oil was rich in tocopherols with the following composition (mg/100 g): α-tocopherol 71; γ-tocopherol 272; δ-tocopherol 17.4; and total vitamin E equivalent of 97. The oil had good oxidation resistance and storage stability. Lipid fractionation of crude raspberry seed oil yielded 93.7% neutral lipids, 3.5% phospholipids, and 2.7% free fatty acids. The main fatty acids of crude oil were C18:2 n-6 (54.5%), C18:3 n-3 (29.1%), C18:1 n-9 (12.0%), and C16:0 (2.7%). The ratio of fatty acids, polyunsaturates to monounsaturates to saturates varied depending on lipid fraction. Polymorphic changes were observed in thermal properties of raspberry seed oil.

Photoprotective potential in some medicinal plants used to treat skin diseases in Sri Lanka

BMC Complement Altern Med. 2016; 16: 479.


The constant exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation (UV) has a variety of harmful effects on human health. Although synthetic sunscreen products have been introduced as a preventive/therapeutic strategy, with the realization of their adverse side effects, the recent trend is to search for human friendly alternative formulations especially of plant origin. Therefore, the present study focuses on evaluation of photoprotective activity of aqueous extracts (1 mg/ml) of eleven medicinal plants in Sri Lanka that have been widely employed in traditional medicine as treatment options for various skin diseases and to improve the complexion.


For the determination of UV filtering potential of the extracts, UV absorption was measured and the sun protection factor (SPF) was calculated according the Mansur equation. The antioxidant activity was evaluated by DPPH and ABTS assays.


Among the extracts, Atalantia ceylanica, Hibiscus furcatus, Leucas zeylanica, Mollugo cerviana, Olax zeylanica and Ophiorrhiza mungos have displayed SPF value ≥ 25, which are even higher than two commercial photoprotective creams used as reference compounds. L. zeylanica and O. mungos have displayed a high UV absorbance in 260–350 nm range indicating their potential of being broad spectrum sunscreens. In addition, the extract of O. mungos was found to be photostable, without any significant reduction in the SPF after exposure to direct solar radiation for 21 days. DPPH assay and the ABTS assay revealed that the extracts possess high antioxidant activity.


The results of the present study suggest that the presence of secondary metabolites with antioxidant property could be responsible for the high UV absorbance. Our findings would offer an exciting avenue for further research towards the development of herbal cosmetics.

Phytoconstituents as photoprotective novel cosmetic formulations

Pharmacogn Rev. 2010 Jan-Jun; 4(7): 1–11.


Phytoconstituents are gaining popularity as ingredients in cosmetic formulations as they can protect the skin against exogenous and endogenous harmful agents and can help remedy many skin conditions. Exposure of skin to sunlight and other atmospheric conditions causes the production of reactive oxygen species, which can react with DNA, proteins, and fatty acids, causing oxidative damage and impairment of antioxidant system. Such injuries damage regulation pathways of skin and lead to photoaging and skin cancer development. The effects of aging include wrinkles, roughness, appearance of fine lines, lack of elasticity, and de- or hyperpigmentation marks. Herbal extracts act on these areas and produce healing, softening, rejuvenating, and sunscreen effects. We have selected a few photoprotective phytoconstituents, such as curcumin, resveratrol, tea polyphenols, silymarin, quercetin and ascorbic acid, and have discussed the considerations to be undertaken for the development of herbal cosmetic formulations that could reduce the occurrence of skin cancer and delay the process of photoaging. This article is aimed at providing specific and compiled knowledge for the successful preparation of photoprotective herbal cosmetic formulations.

Hydrosols: A Powerful Tool of Aromatherapy

What is a ‘hydrosol’? An aromatic hydrosol, also known as ‘floral water’, is the water-based by-product of the distillation process used to extract the essential oil from a plant (e.g. rose or lavender).

Lavender Hydrosol • $12 … 60 ml ••• $20 … 118 ml

Aromatic hydrosols are extremely gentle & lightly scented; though they often surprise the nose as sometimes they do not smell exactly like an essential oil (e.g. lavender hydrosol).  According to Tisserand, a hydrosol is approximately 200 times less potent than its essential oil.

Hydrosols are effective as a natural and gentle skin treatment – spritz liberally on skin.  Add 30-60 ml to facial steam.

You can also use the appropriate hydrosol to mix a clay facial mask. Lavender hydrosol is the ‘secret’ ingredient in many ‘sleepy time’ sprays.

powerful yet gentle tool of aromatherapy suitable for most age groups, we carry a number of hydrosols including Rose, Lavender, Sandalwood, Geranium, Roman Chamomile, Peppermint, Neroli, and Frankincense.

These must be pre-ordered for pick-up at the market on Saturday.

 Worth a read: Suzanne Catty’s: “Hydrosols: The Next Aromatherapy”